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University of Iowa News Release


April 24, 2007

Media Advisory: National Genecular Institute, UI Host Groundbreaking April 30

The University of Iowa, Ryan Companies US, Inc., and National Genecular Institute, Inc. (NGI), a California subsidiary of Dermacia Inc., will break ground at 11:30 a.m. Monday, April 30 on the development of a 90,000-square-foot research laboratory and business incubator facility on the UI Oakdale Research Campus in Coralville.

The event will take place at the UI Oakdale Research Park, Lot 1, 2500 Crosspark Road in Coralville.

A media briefing precedes the event at 10:30 a.m. in the Coralville Conference Room in the Technology Innovation Center, 2261 Crosspark Road. This will be an opportunity for media to learn more about the project and view images of the building.

Scheduled speakers include UI Interim President Gary Fethke, UI Vice President for Research Meredith Hay and officials from NGI/Dermacia and Ryan Companies.

With an estimated building cost of $20 million, the project consists of the design, development and construction of a state-of-the-art research facility.

"This is an exciting partnering opportunity for us as this joint project is in line with the UI's aspiration to expand its business incubator facilities and spur growth in its Oakdale Research Park," said Meredith Hay, UI vice president for research.

The UI and NGI will be tenants in the new facility, which will be owned by Ryan Companies US Inc. and designed by OPN Architects Inc. of Cedar Rapids.

The UI will occupy 35,000 square feet of the facility for its new BioVentures Center for sublease to biotechnology start-up companies and will retain ownership of the land at the Oakdale Research Campus.

NGI expects to occupy about 55,000 square feet of the facility. NGI's section will be used to advance innovative research in customized medicine through its broad research in genetics pharmacogenomics, molecular cell biology, laser optics, nanobiology and federally approved stem cell research. NGI projects that 178 new jobs will be created during a three-year period and the jobs will be in the scientific field.

"The University of Iowa is recognized as one of the premiere scientific research universities in the nation," says Matt Nicosia, Dermacia's chief executive officer and co-founder. "NGI's mission of 'Extending Life One Cell at A Time' will benefit greatly from this partnering and our research efforts will usher in the next generation of cosmeceuticals and skin care."

"While we enjoy all of our work, we are especially excited about this project," said Marc Gullickson, president of Ryan Companies US Inc./Iowa. "In working with the NGI and the university we are part of an effort that is not only fascinating but more importantly, offers the opportunity for advances in science and technology that will benefit a very broad part of the community."

Beyond the Coralville facility, NGI plans to purchase 3.86 acres in Iowa City on which it plans to build a 20,000-square-foot facility to be used as a biobank, a repository for genetic and cellular materials, which will be one of the largest and most sophisticated in the world.

"Imagine a future where each person can obtain custom-made, individualized skin products targeted for their own skin's characteristics and susceptibilities, such as sun sensitivity, predisposition to skin cancers, early aging and tendency to form wrinkles," said Nicosia. "Well that future is now here, it's just a matter of bricks and mortar."

Dermacia Inc. is a manufacturer and innovator of skin care products, anti-aging cosmeceuticals and topical pharmaceuticals. NGI is advancing the future of customized medicine in areas such as skin diseases and conditions through a global biomedical research protocol that identifies the human genetic factors causing a given disease or condition, as well as the subsequent development of targeted products and therapeutics.

The Oakdale Research Park is part of the IOWA Centers for Enterprise, which integrates existing economic development activities at the UI and offers a comprehensive program that promotes economic development and technology transfer, provides assistance to Iowa startups and existing Iowa businesses and communities, and helps the state of Iowa develop a creative, entrepreneurial workforce. IOWA Centers for Enterprise optimizes the flow of university intellectual property into opportunities for licensing, commercialization and business development. For more information, visit

STORY SOURCE: University News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 370, Iowa City, Iowa 52242 and

MEDIA CONTACTS: University of Iowa: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,; The Professional Image Inc. for NGI: Angela O'Mara or Enna Ruiz, 949-760-1522.